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Submission + - Microsoft unfurls patent lasso, snares Linux servers (theregister.co.uk)

Pigskin-Referee writes: Microsoft’s crusade to lock Linux companies into patent protection deals has netted Redmond’s first service provider.

Amdocs Software Systems is paying Microsoft to license undisclosed Redmond patents in a deal that "provides mutual access to each company’s patent portfolio".

The deal extends to the Linux servers running in Amdoc’s data centres, with the unidentified boxes receiving a licence under Microsoft’s patent portfolio. Specific terms of the deal were not announced, including how much Amdocs will pay Microsoft.

Until now, Microsoft has focused its efforts on device makers whose systems run Android Linux – HTC, General Dynamics Itronix, Onkyo Corp and Velocity Micro – in addition to Acer, ViewSonic and Casio. To our knowledge, this is Microsoft’s first strike at the server market. Amdocs specialises in customer and network management and service delivery systems for operators such as cable TV companies.


Submission + - 94 Percent of New PCs Will Ship with Windows 7 (pcworld.com)

Pigskin-Referee writes: The Apple Mac is steadily grabbing market share, but Windows-based systems continue to dominate the worldwide personal computer market, according to a new Gartner study.

The report is good news for Microsoft, which has taken its licks lately in the mobile computing market. Redmond's well-received but slow-selling Windows Phone 7 OS has yet to catch on among consumers, who are snapping up Apple iOS and Google Android handsets like crazy.

Windows 7 has proven a big hit on the desktop, however: 42 percent of PCs worldwide will run Win 7 by the end of 2011, Gartner reports. And nearly 635 million new PCs are expected to ship with the OS by the end of the year.

After a slow start, corporations are finally migrating from Windows XP to Windows 7. "Many enterprises have been planning their deployment of Windows 7 for the last 12 to 18 months, and are now moving rapidly to Windows 7," said Gartner research director Annette Jump in a statement.

However, Windows 7 will likely be the last version of Microsoft's iconic OS that gets deployed via massive, enterprise-wide migrations. The move toward virtual and cloud computing architectures in the next five years will change how upcoming versions of Windows are deployed, the study says.

Another long-term issue for Windows is the rise of "OS-agnostic" applications for both consumer and enterprise PCs. As early as next year, half of enterprise apps won't be tied to any particular operating system. In the consumer market, the proportion of OS-agnostic apps already exceeds Windows-specific apps, Gartner estimates.

What About Mac and Linux?

Apple's slice of the global PC pie may be small, but Mac adoption is growing above the market average. The Mac OS shipped on 3.3 percent of new PCs worldwide in 2008. That figure climbed to 4 percent in 2010, and to 4.5 percent this year--and it's projected to grown to 5.2 percent by 2015, Gartner says.

The Mac's popularity varies by region, however. Its strongest support is in North America and Western Europe, but its fastest growth may occur in some emerging countries where its current base is small. Gartner attributes the Mac's rise not only to its easy-to-use interface, but also to its integration with Apple mobile devices such as the iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch.

Gartner is less optimistic about Linux, which it predicts will remain a niche OS over the next five years with a global share below 2 percent. In the consumer market, Linux will be a non-entity with less than 1 percent of the PC market. End users didn't take to Linux-based mini-notebooks, or netbooks, and today few mini-notes ship with Linux.


Submission + - Malware attacks Linux and Unix-like routers (zdnet.co.uk)

Pigskin-Referee writes: Malware has been found in the wild that masquerades as harmless Linux/Unix-like software for routers, but is in fact an IRC backdoor.

The malware, which poses as a .elf file, has infected machines in Latin America, security company Trend Micro said in a blog post on Thursday. Trend Micro has called the exploit ELF_TSUNAMI.R., and says it can also compromise D-Link DWL-900AP+ access points.

An infected machine connects to a botnet on internet relay chat (IRC) servers, Trend Micro said. The exploit may perform brute-force attacks on router username password pairs.
At the time of writing, Trend Micro was analysing how the malware spreads, and whether machines in geographical territories outside of Latin America have been compromised.

D-Link said in January 2010 that a vulnerability in three of its routers could let hackers reconfigure administrative settings.

Symantec said in 2008 that it had discovered malware in the wild that subverted routers in attempted banking fraud.

Desktops (Apple)

Submission + - The dream of Linux as a major desktop OS is gone (pcworld.com)

Pigskin-Referee writes: It kills me to say this: The dream of Linux as a major desktop OS is now pretty much dead.

Despite phenomenal security and stability--and amazing strides in usability, performance, and compatibility--Linux simply isn’t catching on with desktop users. And if there ever was a chance for desktop Linux to succeed, that ship has long since sunk.

Over the past few years, modern Linux distributions such as Ubuntu have utterly transformed the open-source desktop user experience into something sleek and simple, while arguably surpassing Windows and Mac OS in both security and stability. Meanwhile, the public failure of Windows Vista and the rise of the netbook gave Linux some openings to capture a meaningful slice of the market. But those opportunities have been squandered and lost, and Linux desktop market share remains stagnant at around 1 percent.

I should emphasize that I'm not by any means talking about the demise of Linux itself. New projections from the Linux Foundation credibly show that demand for Linux on servers will outstrip demand for all other options over the next few years. And, as I'll discuss at length in this article, Linux has already established itself as a dominant operating system on mobile and embedded devices ranging from tablets and phones to TVs and printers.

But for anyone who has longed for a future in which free, open-source Linux distributions would rival premium commercial operating systems from Microsoft and Apple on desktop PCs, now might be a good time to set more-realistic expectations. Though I personally wish that the opposite were true, the year of the Linux desktop will never come.


Submission + - If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery ... (theregister.co.uk)

Pigskin-Referee writes: "If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery ...

Then Microsoft should be flattered by this distro of Ubuntu Linux, which looks just like Windows XP, right down to the "Luna" theme. One might expect Microsoft to sue (certainly Apple would, if someone copied the look of their OS), but apparently there are no plans to do so. It's called Yimf OS 3.0 and comes from a Chinese software maker (where else?)."

The goal of science is to build better mousetraps. The goal of nature is to build better mice.